Sure, we all care about centrifuge capsules, moon boots, rocket launchers and g-force simulators. But how do space toilets work?
“Astronaut,” the fall exhibit by the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach, can answer that question. The museum’s outer-space privy, a re-creation of the one used aboard the International Space Station, includes vacuum hoses, stirrups, hand levers and zero room for toilet paper.
The exhibit, which opens Saturday, Oct. 14, features 26 interactive exhibits that tackle the physical and psychological effects of living like a space cowboy. Scitech, a Perth, Australia-based company, programmed the touring exhibit with help from NASA engineers and retired astronauts.
Most displays in “Astronaut” seem more down-to-Earth than a space-station throne. In the museum’s “Training Zone” area, visitors can assemble nuts and bolt while inside a space suit, and learn to grow produce in zero gravity. There’s also a centrifuge capsule, a pod that resembles those giant “Disney World” teacups, which whirls in place to simulate g-forces. A “Rocket Launch” section, meanwhile, simulates climbing into a rocket before blastoff. In the exhibit’s “Space Lab” section, a live NASA satellite feed will show astronauts performing daily routines aboard the ISS.
Retired astronaut Robert Crippen, who flew the first Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981, will deliver a talk during the museum’s Teacher STEM Open House on Nov. 3.
When: Oct. 14-April 15; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach
Contact: 561-832-1988 or SFScienceCenter.org
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